Last month, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup Final between Brazil and Spain aired simultaneously on Univision and ESPN, providing a stark reminder of how important Hispanic Americans are to the continuing growth of soccer in the U.S. While viewership was down 45% for ESPN from the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup Final, viewership for Univision was up 34%. Univision viewership during the match soared to 4 million.
While Hispanics comprise only 20% of the sports fans in the U.S., their passion for soccer exceeds their numbers. More than half (55%) of Hispanic sports fans are interested in soccer versus only 22% on non-Hispanic sports fans. In fact, it has often been conjectured that Hispanic sports fans have played a significant part in the growing popularity of Major League Soccer (MLS) during the past decade.
Additionally, Hispanic soccer fans play a tremendous role in expanding overall awareness of soccer through their activity in social media. The FIFA Confederations Cup Final ranked as the most social broadcast show on June 30, regardless of language. The social media activity of the match on Univision drove the network to the No. 1 slot in social media among all broadcast networks.
One of the most interesting characteristics of many of the Hispanic soccer fans active in social media is that they are bilingual but prefer to watch matches in Spanish.
These bilingual Hispanic soccer evangelists are bringing their non-Hispanic peers into the fold.
In this way, Hispanic soccer fans are not simply expressing their own, personal passion for the sport through social media, but are also sharing their enthusiasm with the population as a whole helping to make soccer (perhaps it would be more apt to say fútbol) part of the fabric of the lives of all U.S. sports fans.